Apple M1 Vmware


Recently I purchased an M1 equipped 13” MacBook Pro. Overall the machine has been absolutely amazing however I have 1 big issue transitioning from my old Intel Hackintosh:

Released Wednesday, is now offered in a native version for Apple’s own M1 silicon. Parallels says the new offering is for Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and “the most popular ARM-based Linux distributions.”.

  • That is a false statement from VMware as they were assuming Apple sells only Intelx86 computers. Their latest Fusion v12.1.0 does NOT work with Apple M1 and VMware needs to step up its game soon to catch up with new M1 platform. In fact it should run so smoothly when it's supported!
  • Apr 16, 2021 On Mac, that support has to arrive via tools like Parallels and VMWare, however, because Apple doesn't offer an equivalent to Boot Camp on Macs featuring its custom chip. That means it's important.
  • 15 hours ago  Windows on M1 Mac using VMWare. The final option is not yet available, but it is slated to be coming soon. VMWare is an alternative to Parallels, and has been around for quite some time. However, the developers have remained pretty quiet on providing the ability to use its application on an M1-powered Mac.
  • Apr 20, 2021 VMWare Fusion to support M1 Macs soon, allowing users to run Windows 10 on ARM via virtualization What to expect from Apple’s April 20 ‘Spring Loaded’ event: new iPads, iMacs, AirTags and more.
  • Missing macOS guest VMs

While its clear that both Parallels and VMWare will support Apple Silicon with macOS guests in the future, the question is when. Additionally, it’s also unclear if we’ll ever get x86 emulation from them or if its strictly ARM64 only. A bit of a shame especially as I do frequently boot old macOS VMs versions to check for bugs.

To get around this, I wanted to see if our good ol friend QEMU can help us out and do full x86 emulation.

For today’s experiment, we’ll try and see if we can get to the macOS recovery environment with a vanilla macOS BaseSystem. Of course we’ll be getting a bit of help from OpenCore to move this along.

Getting started

Before we beging, we’ll need a few things:

  • UTM
    • A very nice wrapper for QEMU in macOS, additionally also supports iOS
    • See here about installing on iOS: Install
  • OpenCore Image
    • Our bootloader to help launch macOS, there’s a few options to choose from:
      • EFI-MODERN: macOS 10.15 and newer supported
      • EFI-LEGACY: Mac OS X 10.6 through 10.14 supported
      • EFI-i386: Mac OS X 10.4 through 10.7 supported
  • OVMF Binary
    • Our UEFI image for QEMU
      • Note we want edk2.git-ovmf-x64 specifically
      • iOS Users can download the pre-extracted image here: OVMF.bin
  • macOS Image
    • See macrecovery in OpenCorePkg on how to download from Apple’s servers
      • This should provide you with a BaseSystem/RestoreImage.dmg for use to play with
    • For educational purposes, I’ve also provided a pre-installed OS image:
      • Catalina-SETUP.qcow2(Mirror)

To start, open up the UTM.dmg and add to the Applications/ folder.

  • For iOS users, see here: UTM iOS Install

Next, download OVMF from the Qemu firmware repo and run the following:

From here, we can open and get started:

We’ll first want to make a fresh VM, here I’ll list a few of the required settings to boot:


Apple M1 Vmware
  • Architecture: x86_64
  • System: Standard PC (Q35 + ICH9, 2009)
  • Memory: 4096MB
  • Force Multicore: True
    • Note forcing multicore greatly increases the VM speed, however bugs may appear with this.


  • -cpu
  • Penryn,+ssse3,+sse4.1,+sse4.2


  • OVMF.bin:
    • Image Type: BIOS
  • EFI.img:
    • Image Type: Disk Image
    • Interface: USB
  • BaseSystem.dmg:
    • Image Type: Disk Image
    • Interface: USB
  • Extra Disk(If you plan to install macOS):
    • Image Type: Disk Image
    • Interface: USB
    • Size: 30720(ie. 32GB)


  • Enabled: True
  • Emulated Network Card: VMWare Paravirlulized Ethernet V3

Once these are all done, we can now boot our VM!

Booting the VM

Apple M1 Vmware Download

1. OVMF Start2. OpenCore Picker3. macOS Kernel Starts

The boot process is slow however, and I mean very slow. But after 17min(Reduced to 8min with Force Multicore) we finally reach macOS’s recovery screen!

The OS is unusable to say the least, and unfortunately won’t get much better even with tinkering. However the fact QEMU is able to emulate an Intel Penryn PC so well is quite remarkable, and OpenCore has made this much easier to build and boot.

Apple M1 Vmware

Bonus pic, installed Catalina!

Bonus pic x2, High Sierra Geekbench scores!


No mouse control

If your mouse doesn’t work, try pressing Control+Option+Arrows

Recovery Contact Error: 1

For Recovery Server contact errors, verify your time is correct in the VM by opening terminal:

Recovery Contact Error: 2

Apple M1 Vmware Fusion 12

If you continue to have Recovery Connection issues, open terminal and run the following:

Vmware Fusion Apple Silicon

Can’t start x86 VM in macOS 11.2 RC 20D53

This is a known issue, using QEMU’s TCG in the latest beta will crash QEMUHelper that UTM relies on. Current solution is to downgrade to 11.2 beta 2 (20D5042d) or older.

We’ve reported a feedback to Apple regarding this:

  • Feedback ID: FB8978379

UPDATE: @osy discovered that in the 11.2 RC 20D53, Apple now blocks mprotect on MAP_JIT regions. QEMU uses mprotect to guard pages at the end of the JIT region. This means that QEMU will most likely need to be updated to either remove the ASSERT or guard the page after MAP_JIT instead. UTM has already been updated for this: qemu: fix crash on macOS 11.2